id’s John Carmack Talks Doom Resurrection

We’ve just received a trailer from id Software for Doom Resurrection, and posted it at the end of the article.

We just got off the phone with legendary developer John Carmack of id Software, who gave us the official scoop on the House of Doom’s new iPhone project, Doom Resurrection. We’ve got all the juicy details and screens right after the jump!

Doom Resurrection looks a lot like Doom 3 for a reason.

id Software has already established a presence on the App Store with Wolfenstein 3D, and Carmack has gone on record effusively praising the iPhone as a gaming platform.

In some of those same interviews, he alluded to a secret iPhone project id was working on, prompting much speculation. It turns out that game was Doom Resurrection, which id and external developer Escalation Studios have been working on for the last 8 months.

According to Carmack, Doom Resurrection is an entirely new game “built as an iPhone exclusive from the ground up.” Its story runs parallel to Doom 3, returning gamers to a different part of the monster-infested moon base as a new hero.

The connection between Doom 3 and Doom Resurrection runs all the way down to the technical level. We learned from Escalation Studios’s Managing Director Tom Mustaine that Resurrection reuses many of Doom 3′s assets, and displays them “only one level down” from the original PC game’s resolution.

“Doom Resurrection pretty much has all of the original weapons and most of the monsters from Doom 3, including the bosses,” Mustaine said. One notable exception is the infamous flashlight mechanic, which Carmack called “my biggest mistake from Doom 3.”

Dude, tuck your shirt in!

Doom Resurrection is very much its own title, too. The game’s eight levels have been built from scratch, the story is original, and the gameplay has been switched up to be appropriate for the iPhone. The player moves through the levels automatically, tilting to aim and then hitting a fire button to shoot. Contextual buttons pop up when you have an opportunity to dodge or take cover.

“We wanted an opportunity to control the game’s pacing,” Carmack said, noting that iPhone gamers may not be as familiar with first-person shooter mechanics as the typical console gamer. “This way, the game won’t make you feel like an idiot because you can’t figure out which way to go.”

Carmack and Mustaine stressed that there’s plenty of action to be had in Doom Resurrection. They estimated that the game’s good for 4 to 6 hours of play the first time through, depending on which of the four difficulty levels you choose. Also, the game assigns a performance ranking after each level, so there is some replay value in working to improve your ranking.

Doom Resurrection is a landmark for id Software and Carmack in several respects. “This is the first time id has ever funded an external team,” Carmack said. “It’s a lot riskier than letting a publisher do it. If the game didn’t turn out well, we were prepared to can it and let it remain a secret.”

Contextual buttons allow you to dodge.

And according to Carmack, the game’s future was something of an open question at first. He wasn’t satisfied with the first iteration of the game, which used a sort of “Whack-a-Mole,” tap-to-shoot mechanic.

“Tapping is actually too efficient of a control mechanism,” he said. “It felt like a productivity app. There was no tension, and you couldn’t see the damage animation on whatever you were shooting at because your finger was in the way. But the game really turned the corner when we put in the new aiming mechanism.”

Even though it may not sound like it, the notoriously hands-on Carmack actually took more of an advisory role for Doom Resurrection, joking that he was working as “the world’s most expensive beta tester.” Katherine Anna Kang, the president of id Mobile and Carmack’s wife, served as producer on the project.

Carmack hasn’t been sitting still, though. He described id’s iPhone strategy as a “three-pronged attack,” the first prong being “classic” id titles like Doom Classic, which will be out in July, Wolfenstein 3D, and possibly the Quake games. Carmack codes all of these games personally. The second category is for id’s mobile RPGs, like Wolfenstein RPG, which is also ready for submission, Carmack said.

The third is iPhone-exlusive projects like Doom Resurrection. Carmack hinted that the next title in this vein could be related to Rage, referring to id’s post-apocalyptic racing game that is still in development.

Doom Resurrection is due out later this month. The team doesn’t have an official price yet, but Carmack said it would be at the premium end of the scale. He also told us that future updates may include features such as cooperative multiplayer as well as downloadable levels. We are waiting on the official gameplay trailer, and will post it as soon as we get it.